We have been busy!!
Nathan's parents arrived on July 24th and we have been going almost non-stop ever since! On Sat morning "everyone but Mom" (me) went to the produce market in Boston--I stayed home and cleaned and baked! Then we spent the rest of the day at the beach eating molasses cookies. Our garden came into full bloom while Gramma and Grampa were here--see the sunflowers, beans, and peas? They are mostly dead now, except for the beans, which are still heavy with flowers.
Which is really cool, b/c the bean plant started as lil'Nathan's science experiment to learn about what plants need. Four beans were planted in little containers. One was denied light, one denied water, one denied dirt. One got everything. Here's how they looked before we planted them outside. The kids loved how fast the one in the dark grew--it actually jumped out of the box when we opened it to check on it. It died completely just a few hours after being moved outside, though.
Oh, and here are a few pictures of the kids' other adventures since the last posting. Joseph and lil'Nathan built these trains, including the tracks and wheels, and then they all had fun with the pattern blocks.
Okay, where was I? Yes, Gramma and Grampa...
On Monday we took them over to see the Temple and went shopping at Whole Foods and caused a serious (and very angry!!) traffic jam by refusing to cut into a funeral procession. Let's just say, after this trip, Nathan's parents do not think too highly of Massachusetts drivers. We got lost on the way home (shocking, I know) and wound up right at a discount fabric store. Nice place, and it really was an accident, I promise! (But I DO know how to get back!) At Home Depot Grampa bought some hardware cloth and fixed our screen door making it Joseph-proof! And he built us a water bubbling thingy that makes better drinking water. The kids had a great time watching and helping. And my new Tangram book arrived! More than 2000 puzzles!
The next day we went up to Haverhill where Nathan's family settled when they arrived from England in the mid 1600's. We drove around by the old homestead and then on the way home stopped by the old Smith family homestead in Topsfield, MA. That's where 4 generations of Joseph Smith's family lived, and where his father Joseph Smith Sr., was born. Beautiful spot!
We were going to pick blueberries and peaches at Conner's farm on the way home, but the blueberries were $4/lb and peaches all froze to death in Feb. Oh well. We stopped by JoAnn Fabrics instead and got a dowel so Grampa could fix Mary's toy sewing machine. (But fear not about our lack of blueberries--during a thunderstorm on Thurs I learned about an honor system farm 30 mi west of here with berries for only $1.50/lb. We checked the weather radar and saw the storm already gone from that area and hopped in the van, loaded with bags and bowls. We came home with 23 lbs of berries.) :)
And Wed we woke up for a quiet, restful day only to discover the excessive humidity levels of the past few days had destroyed the bottom box holding our water storage. All 5 boxes (30 gallons) had toppled over, crashing into two sets of mirrored doors we were keeping "safe" in the basement/library. Ugh. Happy to report that only 4 gallons were lost, though the mess was... well, a mess. Grampa and I set out on a search for new containers for our water, but ultimately gave up in defeat. He did get some more items for another invention, though. Joseph also discovered a new game he could play with Gramma...
Thursday I think we had plans to go to Boston, but the humidity was so oppressive that we chose to stay home. Good thing, too, b/c we found out about the blueberry place instead and it turned out not to be so humid over there. That morning, Mary was playing hair stylist. First she did Gramma's hair. Then she did Grampa's hair.
While she was working on Grampa's hair, the doorbell rang. Grampa answered it, with his hair still in pigtails. Our landlord had come to retrieve the mirrored doors. He didn't even bat an eyelash at Grampa's hair--he's met Mary and he has a daughter of his own. (We put the doors downstairs at the end of May when the kids cracked one while playing. The broken one was broken much more by the water collapse, but whole one remained whole, thank goodness.)
Friday was a day of grocery shopping, I think. It wore Grampa and Joseph out.
On Friday night my mom arrived. And then on Saturday morning, lil'Nathan was baptized. We didn't get any pictures of him and Daddy in their white suits with our camera, but we did get a big family picture as we were leaving the chapel. I don't think Joseph smiled for a single picture from the moment my mother arrived.
We spent the rest of Saturday afternoon eating! Pizza from Nick's (way yummy!), veggie platter, homemade cherry pie, ice cream... We were having so much fun that we nearly forgot to take Gramma and Grampa to the airport! That night, after the kids went to bed, it was my turn to play hair dresser. My mom felt her hair was too long and wanted a "just cut it short" haircut. (She isn't likely to ask for that again!) The next morning she accused me of giving her Nathan's haircut. I told her if I'd done that, I'd have used the electric clippers around her ears, too. She now agrees, I can do short, but isn't too worried since her hair grows fast and "it'll be perfect in two weeks." (Go ahead, compare the Baptism day picture with the ones that follow.)
Monday morning we went to Boston and walked the Freedom Trail... in search of the perfect magnet. Yes, she found one. We also went in search of fresh Italian bread. We found that, too, though Joseph didn't last that long. I tied his head up to keep him from bobbling all over the place.
The highlight of the day for the kids, though, was not the bread, the magnet, or even the delicious Italian cookies they each got. It was playing in the fountain across from Haymarket. We were planning to go to the Common and Frog Pond, but really, why bother? This was closer, less crowded, and we got there first. It took them all day to dry out.
Tuesday we went over to Acton to visit my friend Sara. She and Mom hadn't seen each other in quite a while and Sara has a pool at her apartment complex. We had a good visit, the kids had a great time, and I--having forgotten to bring a t-shirt--got totally fried on my back and shoulders. Oops. All kids were properly covered... and totally exhausted. We stopped on the way home at the wonderful Bedford library where I checked out more homeschool magazines than I can possibly read in the allotted 7 days, but oh well.
Wednesday was cutting out day for all of our sewing projects. 3 ties, one dress for Mary, one for her doll, one nightgown for Mary and one for her doll, two bags, a slip for Mary and a pair of shorts. With kids running around, that took much of the day. Just before bedtime, Joseph whacked lil'Nathan with something and finished loosening lil'Nathan's snaggle tooth. Hip hip hooray, that tooth was driving me nuts!!
I stayed up late that night to work on the sewing. We finished it all the following afternoon. Here is Mary and Molly in their lovely "silk" matching nightgowns.
After we cleaned up, Mom took the two older kids to the playground. Joseph insisted on staying with me while I caught up on bills, phone calls, and a little cleaning. When they got home, we cleaned the rat cages and played with the rats for a while. Joseph is holding Seth, the more active of the two rats. Nathan is calming a frazzled Acorn, who still panics every time we take the cage apart for cleaning. When we open the door for dinner time they try to climb out on my arm, and both have started making happy rat noises when we feed them. Frozen peas are a special favorite.
Friday morning was Free Fun Friday at Plimoth Plantation, so we went. It was a beautiful day and Mom really seemed to enjoy it there. One of the actors was chiding a guest for her lack of clothing and asked if her husband was too poor to buy her "proper Christian" garments. Mary wore her new dress--a bright orange and yellow checkered VeggieTales delight. We never needed to wonder where she was--she stood out!
And then, before we knew it, it was Saturday again and time for Mom to go home. Nathan and Joseph went to the produce market in the morning and then the kids stayed with my mom while Nathan and I went to the Temple. Joseph was so upset he flung himself in a heap on the floor and cried himself to sleep. He woke up in the most delightful mood and was so very friendly to GG (my mom), he even smiled and posed with her for pictures. He told me, when we got home, "GG my friend now." She never managed to get a kiss, though.
Mary had a hard time saying goodbye to her roommate and fingernail polisher. She burst into tears at bedtime and has had a very difficult day all day today.
And, as ever, Mom insisted on getting a family picture before she left to update her wall. I think Joseph was 2 weeks old in her current one.
In her last two days, my mom found out her job may be gone and her brother died. Then she met a horrid airport security agent and had two rotten flights home. The kids are afraid she won't want to come back b/c of all the bad news she got while she was here, but she said that's not the case. Though next time, we have to go see her.
But all in all, it was a good two weeks. Nathan's mom learned how to make scrubbies, my mom discovered the joys of Ebay, and I relearned how to sew in a good zipper. The kids got to spend a lot of time with their grandparents and lil'Nathan found a fellow inventor to discuss ideas with when Gramma let him talk to his cousin Helaman for an hour.